CM junks TMC’s debate challenge

SHILLONG, Sep 26: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said he was not aware of who Saket Gokhale is and cannot engage in a debate with any ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’.
Gokhale, the national spokesperson of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), had dared Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong to a debate on a slew of alleged irregularities in the state, including the Assembly dome collapse and anomalies in awarding the contract.
“Who is he? I don’t know him. There can be many people from any part of the country today seeking a debate on this or that issue,” Sangma when asked about Gokhale’s challenging to Tynsong, also the NPP national vice-president on the faulty implementation of the Shillong Smart City project and misgovernance.
“I cannot be having debates with any Tom, Dick and Harry who is saying I want a debate,” he said.
In a letter addressed to Tynsong, the TMC leader said: “Sir, yesterday you conducted a press conference with several media and press outlets in Meghalaya. During this press conference, you were questioned about the facts of several irregularities that I, on behalf of the TMC, have raised over the last 2 months especially pertaining to the matter of Shillong Smart City Ltd. and the collapse of the Meghalaya Assembly Dome and the anomalies in the contract process.”
“In response, you failed to provide any answer to the allegations and instead referred to me and said that “If he is so concerned, let him come to Shillong and find out,” Gokhale wrote, adding, “I have been in Shillong constantly over the last 2 months and have seen first-hand the irregularities in the administration about the issues I have raised.”

Conrad defends Gaming Act
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2022, regulates the old games and prohibits locals from playing, which is precisely what various organisations have been asking for.
“The Act was brought in precisely because there are gaming parlours that function without licenses. Jackpot parlours and other games need to be regulated. Whether or not we start new ones, the old ones need to be regulated,” the chief minister said.
He said the new regulations prohibit locals, particularly the youth, from playing.
“This is achieving what different organisations have been asking for. Hence, the question of repealing this Act does not arise,” he added.
“We have clearly mentioned that the government is not going ahead with any form of gaming after consultations with all stakeholders,” Sangma said.
He further said the Act was passed by all the legislators in the House.
JAC against casino to meet CM
The Joint Action Committee against Casino (JACAC) on Monday resolved to meet the CM to reiterate their demand for repeal of the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021 and to express their resentment against the move to set up casinos in Ri-Bhoi district.
The JAC, comprising traditional heads and pressure groups of Ri-Bhoi, met at Sajer Community Hall, Nongpoh to discuss the matter. The meeting was attended by legislators Mayralborn Syiem, George B Lyngdoh and Sosthenes Sohtun, Nongpoh MDC Balajied Rani, leaders of various Dorbars, church elders and prominent citizens.
The JAC is spearheaded by the KSU, FKJGP, HNYF and the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong Ri-Bhoi, and was formed with the sole intention of opposing any move by the government to set up casinos in the district.
Speaking to media persons later, KSU’s Ferdynald Kharkamni said a signature campaign will be organised across the district to drum up public support against casinos.
Secretary of Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong Ri Bhoi, PB Sylliang said they will meet the KHADC CEM Titosstarwell Chyne to urge him not to issue any trading licence for casinos.

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